Beauty and the Beast (TV)

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Name: Beauty and the Beast
Abbreviation(s): BatB, B&B
Creator: Ron Koslow
Date(s): 1987-1990
Medium: television
Country of Origin: United States
External Links: IMDB, wikipedia
Catherine and Vincent on the show
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.


Beauty and the Beast was a fantasy television series that ran on CBS from 1987 until 1990. The series offered an updated retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast fairy tale: the romance between Catherine, a savvy assistant DA in New York, (Beauty) and Vincent, a lion-man (Beast) who lives in a secret Utopian community of social outcasts beneath New York City.

one of many cartoons by B&B artist, P.S. Nim, poking fun at the Park culvert and various plots

Because the cast changed in season 3, when Catherine Chandler died and a new character, Diana Bennett, became the female lead, investigating Catherine's murder, there is a split between what is referred to in the fandom as "Classic Beauty and the Beast", i.e. stories with Vincent and Catherine (either set in the first two seasons or denialfic, specifically known as "She's Not Dead" or SND in the fandom), and S3 stories with Diana. The latter however is much less popular in fandom, both because the character death destroyed the main ship of Vincent/Catherine, but also because season 3 had only twelve episodes, so there was not time for the new configuration to grow on anyone. Also the network tried to attract the coveted "male viewer" so the tone had changed in S3 as well.

a Beauty and the Beast t-shirt, image of naked Vincent in chains and inscribed "Victim of CBS Beast Abuse". This was the art for Abode of the Beast, artist: Marilyn Cole

The fan community was very proactive, writing and publishing fanzines, attending conventions, and, in the early days of online communication, creating mailing lists and bulletin boards.[1] In addition, the fandom has produced an extensive body of fanart (see Journeys (Beauty and the Beast calendar) for an overview of artists from the early 1990s). For a more comprehensive overview of fan writers and artists written by Jo Ann Baca in 2008, go here.[2]

On the appeal of the show, a fan in 1990 wrote: "[I like] B&B because it's a Gothic romance and a forbidden love, and these always seem more interesting to me." [3]

The Classic vs. Season 3 Split

For another example of a fandom that split over casting or production changes see the Ray Wars (Due South).

Finding examples of Season 3 character Diana Bennett is often difficult. Some fans refuse to even look at her image, which is presumably why this artist labeled the drawing "Study of Jo" after Jo Anderson, the actress who played Diana. Artist: Jamie.

When Catherine's character was written out of the show, fandom split between those who liked seasons 1 and 2 and those who liked (or at least tolerated) Season 3. Abbreviations multiplied: you were a "Classic" fan if you did not embrace the third season. You were a "S3" fan if you did. Season 3 fans would often refer to themselves as "All Seasons" fans because they felt "Third Season Fan" was misleading as it referred to a very small percentage of BATB fans: those who preferred the third season over the first two seasons.

Less positive terms for Classic fans included: 'Rabid Classic Fan', 'Militant Classic Fan', "Catherinite' and 'Nay-sayer'.[4]

Passions ran high and the level of animosity towards Season 3 stories was fierce.

"Up until [season 3] things had been fine, but, when that third season came out, it became instant warfare. Instant warfare. If you dared say that you liked Diana— For example, I published an issue of a Beauty and the Beast zine after that came out, and I had a, like, three-page story which was just a Diana story? I had people send me back my flyer, which talked about this, torn to pieces. And, this didn't happen to me but it happened to Dovya, who also published a Beauty and the Beast zine at the time. She had the same situation happen, but someone—more than one person—tore the story out of the zine, ripped it up in pieces and sent it back to her. It's like, overreaction much?"[5]
A zine publisher in 1989 had some challenges in sorting fans out:
While we welcome your comments on any published work of Destiny Press, we must ask you to refrain from writing your comments on the S#3 controversy to us. A fictionzine is neither an effective clearinghouse for fan opinion concerning the series, nor a useful forum for it. Yet we must have a way to code ourmailing list so that those who would find even a flyer on Legend, for example, truly unwelcome, would not be sent one. There is only one practical way: Which SASE's you have on file with us will have to be sufficient indication of your preference. So due mainly to this Classic vs. S#3 factor, but partly also because of the rising costs of mass mailing flyers, we will have to limit all future zine announcements to only those who have sent an SASE for a specific publication. [6]

For much more, see Beauty and the Beast: The Classic vs. Season 3 Fandom Split.

Almost Exclusively a Het and Gen Fandom

cover of the zine, Classic Beauty and the Beast

Because the TV show was firmly rooted in traditional romance storylines, fan fiction has been and remains primarily gen and het. A small smattering of slash stories have been written. It is unclear if any slash fanzines were ever printed. Most slash can be found in online multi-fandom archives. The fact that no slash appears in any of the Beauty and the Beast fan fiction archives or fanzines might indicate that the fandom was - and is - not receptive to slash fiction or slash writers. Others have said that it is not that the fandom is not receptive to slash fiction, but rather that few fans want to read (or write) about non-canon pairings of any sort, given the strong character relationships in the show. The controversy over Vincent/Diana third season pairing stories lends this argument some weight.

Places to find slash fiction:

A Fandom of Boundaries

In many ways, fanworks tend to be as safe and risk-adverse as the canon was. An almost complete lack of alternate sexualities and, aside from many fans' aversion to the character of Diana and the entire third season, there is a tendency for fans to be very well-behaved in their treatment of characters. Darkfic is light on the ground.

One of the writers was George R.R. Martin, and in a 2014 interview commented about his experience with the show:
... there were constant limitations. It wore me down. There were battles over censorship, how sexual things could be, whether a scene was too "politically charged," how violent things could be. Don't want to disturb anyone. We got into that fight on Beauty and the Beast. The Beast killed people. That was the point of the character. He was a beast. But CBS didn't want blood, or for the beast to kill people. They wanted us to show him picking up someone and throwing them across the room, and then they would get up and run away. Oh, my God, horrible monster! [Laughs] It was ludicrous. The character had to remain likable. [8]

Even het stories that push the traditional romance narrative have not been well received by the fandom. (See the Black Cover fanzine). Likewise, stories that challenge the reality of the show have disturbed and upset readers For more, see "The Bridge, published in Kaleidoscope #1. It is a story that presents Vincent and the Tunnels below as a hallucination that Catherine creates in order to cope with the trauma of her assault. A copy can be found here. The author discusses fans reactions to her story, which included accusations that she "destroyed the dream" in Winterfest Interview with Cynthia Hatch.


cover of the zine, All That Lights Upon Us
The Beauty and the Beast fanzine tradition was shaped by fans entering the community form other media fandoms:
".....a lot of the early Beauty and the Beast fanzine editors had come from other fandoms. And, there were a lot of brand new people in that fandom as well. This was their first fandom, this was the first time doing a zine, but they were still building on what had been established by other zine editors. I think some of the earliest Beauty and the Beast zines were from people from other fandoms. New people came in, took that as their model, and ran with it."[9]

Fanworks in the Beauty and the Beast fandom are almost one hundred percent het (much of it erotic, explicit and otherwise) and primarily Vincent/Catherine, with some Vincent/Diana, and its fanzines reflect these two pairings.

A Fan Remembers Print Zines

I think BatB was one of the last primarily dead-tree fandoms. The internet was just getting started, and a few of us found online discussion groups or bulletin boards, but most of the fic was in print zines. X-Filesfandom was just getting started, and that was the big crossover—there were a fair number of print zines, but the majority of XF fic was published online.

Back then, zines usually debuted at conventions, either the BatB cons themselves or MediaWest and Shore Leave and other multi-fandom cons. I will never forget the crazed horde that descended on the dealers’ room at the first Tunnelcon, which was in 1990, before most people had access to the internet. The convention was small, not even 500 people, I think, but holy shit. People were standing about five deep at every single table in the room for the first twenty minutes and cash was changing hands faster than you could spit.

We could hear the noise of the crowd before they opened the doors, and our table was all the way across the room from the entrance. It was the first fandom experience for a lot of us, and there were a lot of nervous looks flying around when the doors opened and everybody piled in. (I kinda know how Ron Perlman felt at South of Oz when the entire audience, as one, leaned forward in their seats when he first came on stage. He actually took a step back.)

One big difference with print zines is that there were a lot less abandoned WIPs. Editors sometimes published sequels over several issues, but usually even the long fic was complete in one issue, so we didn’t have to wait for updates and got to read the entire story in one go.

We wrote for love, but we didn’t write for free. Contributors usually got free copies of the zine their work appeared in, but paper and printing and half-tone images and cover stock and COMB BINDING oh dear Lord, all came out of the editors’ pockets, so we charged anywhere from $10 to $25 per zine, depending on how many pages we had to print and how much art there was. I always had a lot of art in my zines, but there were editors who stuck mostly to text because that kept their cost down. There were a couple that went for closer to $30, but they were close to 200 pages and art-heavy.

The down side of print zines was that even if the stories were complete, you still had to wait for new zines to come out. We were a pretty prolific fandom, but several months between issues was the norm, and sometimes it took a year. So conventions would come around and we’d buy as many zines as we could afford (or trade other publishers for).

A lot of people rationed the stories out, but I wasn’t usually good with that, so most of the stuff I bought, I ended up reading at the conventions or on the plane home. It wasn’t uncommon to see about lots of people in your field of view reading one zine or another in the lulls between con events. Most of us only got to talk to each other at cons, though, so there was a lot of socializing and catching up. Which, naturally, included a lot of, “Have you read X yet?!?!?!” kind of flailing and squeeing.

I never did get to a MediaWest, which was a multifandom con with a FRICKIN HUGE dealer’s room. People would save up all year for that one.

So the Olden Days was often feast or famine for fic, and you either had a whole lot at once or none for months most of the time. [10]

Zine Library

In 2011, during the relaunch of the Crystal Rose Lending Library, a fanzine lending library, the new librarians JoAnna Becca and Carol W attempted to identify the first Beauty and the Beast fanzine: "...but the answer wasn't clear-cut. Several zines were published in 1988, some with the month noted, most without. It was impossible to ascertain which zine was the absolute first." Instead they suggested fans start with a series of the earliest fanzines, all published in 1988.[11]

Go here for a list of Beauty and the Beast fanzines on Fanlore (for a complete list see Category:Beauty and the Beast Zines. For other Beauty and the Beast fanzine listings see the Qfer, The Beauty & the Beast Buyer's Guide to Fanzines and The Beauty & the Beast Fictionzine Database.

Project for the Sight-Impaired

In 1989, several zine publishers started a project meant to assist sight-impaired fans. See The Eyes of Beauty Project.

Fan-Created and/or Marketed Merchandise

See Fandom and Profit.

This fandom was unique in the amount of fan-created and/or merchandise produced and sold. Beauty and the Beast fans created, and had the option to buy a vast variety of fan-created goods: candles, small stained glass windows, t-shirts, book bags, fannish dolls, rubber stamps, belt buckles, paper weights, buttons, letter openers, needlepoint pillows, and jewelry are just some examples.

It may be that the amount of fan created merchandise that Beauty and the Beast fandom has led to so many restrictions against sharing and preserving BatB fanworks. While these restrictions were typical of the late 1980s (when the fandom first sprang into existence), BatB never moved towards the more free form communication methods typical of fandoms that are more rooted in the Internet era. For example, few BatB fans took part of the blogging migration in the 2000s and none have moved to tumblr in the 2010s. Both platforms are open to the public, do not require any vetting or screening in order to participate, and in the case of tumblr, the platforms encourage reblogging and sharing of content. Even when all commercial motivations are absent, both vetting and permission are required. For example, fandom history preservation may only be done with the permission of the original fans.[12]

In 2009, an attempt to create an online museum showcasing Beauty and the Beast memorabilia was met with resistance by some established members of the fandom. The 5 year long dispute is documented at the The Treasure Chambers Museum.

"October 30, 2009: The WFOL Candlemakers sent a letter to the Project members, expressing "concerns" and committed to their "concept" of a "museum" (the BBMD). They also claimed a right to use the term "museum" and any work done on one. They asked, in patronizing language, for a cease and desist of all work on the Project's museum site, then displaying 182 items, until it could be discussed."[13]

It is not surprising that this has led some fans to remark:

"I find the Beauty and the Beast fandom, along with Darkover, and those old-school, original Trek offshoot universes to be mind-blowing in the level of control and rules. They fly in the face of what I envision fandom -- sharing, and flying, having conversations via creations, and thumbing ones' nose at dictatorships."[14]

Interviews: Fans

For some interviews with Beauty and the Beast fans, see Category:Beauty and the Beast Fan Interviews.


flyer for Distant Shore II convention held in Los Angeles, CA (2000)

Numerous conventions have been held over the years, both commercial and fan-organized. The first commercial convention was held in 1988 in Los Angeles, with several of the actors in attendance. The first fan-run convention was TunnelCon held in 1990 in Las Vegas, NV. In 2007, the fandom celebrated its 20th anniversary of the TV show at A Without Limits, a convention held in Culver City, CA (convention splashscreen is archived here). A convention was held held in 2010 in San Diego, CA and a promotional video was created to advertise the convention.[15] The 2011 convention was held in New Orleans and on the 25th anniversary of the show, the 2012 convention will be held in Dallas, Texas with a proposed mirror convention held in the UK.

General Convention Info:

Ad for 2010 B&B Convention

Individual Conventions:

Fan Vids

Beauty and the Beast fanvids on videocassette, originally sold to raise funds for a charity

Like many fandoms of the 1990s, Beauty and the Beast has a songvid community. However, like the rest of the fandom, their vid creators rarely interact with the rest of media fandom and little is known about their works or vid traditions. Fan vids have been a main feauture the annual fan run conventions for decades. More recent vidders showcase their vids on Youtube or their own websites.

A few examples of early VCR vids:
"[The episode] No Way Down was the background for the first music video I ever made to the song 'Somewhere Out There'. It was the only episode used, and as a novice I did have a few "glitches" but still it was one of my best achievements. One of these days I hope to do more, but with the quality of music videos out there, and the fact that I only have consumer machines (not the fancy jog-shuttle- editing type) I can not match this quality no matter how good the idea is. It was good to see them replay 'My Boyfriend's Back' from South of Oz at TunnelCon III."[17]


In the early 1990s, the fandom offered annual awards to fanzine writers, artists and publishers: Beauty and the Beast Fan Quality Awards. Voting was open to all of fandom and the awards were announced at various conventions. It is unclear whether awards are still being offered for either print or online fiction.


Beauty and the Beast fan interactions originally began offline and fannish activities and fan fiction were circulated in fanzines and newsletters. Gatherings were in person at conventions or via local fan clubs. Some of the activity has been archived online (see below). As fans moved into the Internet in the early 1990s, there was a gradual shift to online interactions; however fanzines and conventions continue to be produced up to the present. Some fan clubs are still active.

Snapshot of CABB
Screenshot of Chandler's B&B website


Mailing lists

Entrance To BBTV Yahoo Mailing List by Sandy Chandler

Livejournal Communities

Annual Winterfest


Every year, fans still gather virtually to celebrate a week long "Winterfest" (a holiday celebrated on the show by the dwellers who lived beneath New York City).The site is offered in 4 languages.[18] During the festival, art and fan fiction is shared. It is organized by the Wintercandlemakers Committee, a group of fans made up of members from across the world.[19]

"The world above us is cold and gray; summer, a distant memory. Our world too has known its winters, so each year we begin this feast in darkness, as our world began in darkness.
Long before the city above us raised its towers to the sky, men sought shelter in these caverns. In those days these tunnels were dark places, and those who dwelt here dwelt in fear and isolation.
This was a land of lost hope, of twisted dreams, a land of despair, where the sounds of footsteps coming down a tunnel were the sounds of terror. Where men reached for knives and rocks and worse at the sound of other men's voices.
At last a few people learned to put aside their fear. And we began to trust each other, to help each other. Each of us grew stronger - those who took the help and those who gave it.
We are all part of one another: one family, one community. Sometimes we forget this, and so we meet here each year to give thanks to those who have helped us and to remember:
Even the greatest darkness is nothing, so long as we share the light. (Opening Words of Winterfest)[20]

Archives of previous Winterfests (2004-2008) can be found here

Other Resources


  1. Bluebird Bulletin Board Archives.
  2. reference link.
  3. from an artist's bio in Forever and Always #2 (1990)
  4. In volume 3 Of Love and Hope one fan traced the origins of the term nay-sayer:
    "I'd like to touch upon a few things, starting with, specifically, the term "nay-sayer". It was used in a Pipeline editorial written by Stephanie Wiltse and it didn't ask people not to be 'nay- sayers', it had a heading that said: Attention All Nay-Sayers. It got my attention."
    Another fan wrote:
    "The editor, Stephanie Wiltse was

    making an effort to calm people down who were ready to storm Witt-Thomas before the series had even returned. She was saying that we shouldn't be

    nay-sayers and should wait to see what is in store before we condemn [the third season].
  5. Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with CatalenaMara (accessed November 4, 2013.
  6. "A Note to Readers" in Destiny #2
  7. WayBack Archive link to The Complete Kingdom of Slash.
  8. 'Game of Thrones' Author George R.R. Martin: The Rolling Stone Interview, Archived version April 23, 2014
  9. Media Fandom Oral History Project Interview with CatalenaMara (accessed November 4, 2013.
  10. Tumblr post by obsessionisaperfume, January 26, 2015
  11. The Crystal Rose Lending Library: Open once again!, accessed October 1, 2011.
  12. To achieve this goal some fandom members have set up a Lost Writers page and a Convention History page.As of 2014, all writers names have been removed and active outreach seems to have been put on hold.
  13. About the TC Museum, Archived version
  14. Anonymous email sent to Morgan Dawn on Sept 24, 2015, quoted with permission.
  15. Promo vid for the 2010 Beauty and the Beast convention
  16. Beauty and the Beast Convention History WebCite, accessed Feb 2, 2011.
  17. From Of Love and Hope Vol 1 (1994).
  18. Entry to the Winterfest Great Hall website.
  19. 2009 Winterfest FAQ.
  20. Opening Words of Winterfest.
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